By Associated Press - Saturday, April 2, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - State utility regulators are weighing a switch to smart meters for thousands of Hawaiian Electric Co. customers.

The $340 million system would cost Oahu residential customers another 23 cents monthly for the next 20 years, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/1MJH5Fd).

Upgrades would add automation and energy-efficient changes to the electric grid. The new meters could be read remotely, with customers who opt out subject to a fee of about $15 for meter readers.



The company says it is developing a transition plan for its 50 meter readers and that there will be no layoffs related to the new devices.

Installation could start on Oahu in 2017, with Hawaii island and Maui County following in 2018.

The plan is subject to approval by the Public Utilities Commission.

“Modernizing our electric grid is a critical part of our commitment to better serve our customers and achieve a clean energy future for Hawaii,” said Alan Oshima, Hawaiian Electric president and CEO, in a news release. “This investment will lay the technological foundation to enable us to provide our customers with better service, more options to manage their bills, more renewable energy and other services in the future.”

Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s program implemented in 2013 has similar opt-out stipulations. Some customers voiced health and privacy concerns regarding the new meters’ wireless transmission.

About 10 percent of the cooperative’s customers kept their old meter and pay the $10.27 monthly fee.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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